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Gary Johnson has been in Christian ministry for two decades.  As a young man he traveled with a popular youth evangelist, sharing his dramatic story of salvation from drugs, alcohol, abuse and violence for several years.  He also worked with the Salvation Army, ministering among the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, unwed mothers, inner-city youth and prisoners.  Gary also helped Christian ex-offenders adjust to life after incarceration while serving as a volunteer chaplain to Parchman Penitentiary's "Death Row." And almost ten years of Gary’s life was dedicated to “at-risk” teens as he became “father” to countless children who had been abused and neglected.  His wife, Leslie, has served beside him these 20 years and they have been blessed with two wonderful children of their own.  Their first book, Does God Really Prefer Men?   An Open Letter To The Church In America, was released last summer to excellent reviews.  You can visit Gary on the web at www.doesgodreallyprefermen.com


Mishandling Marriage &
The Sin of Uzzah

By Gary Johnson

The divorce rate has sky-rocketed.  Kids are shooting up schools.  Homosexuality is taught as an “alternative lifestyle” and promiscuity among teenagers and even pre-teens is common place.  The family is definitely under attack.  As a result, the last decade and a half has seen the rise of the pro-family Christian message.  Pastors, churches, books, Bible studies and even whole movements are, with the purest of intentions, working feverishly to strengthen the family.  Seeking to rouse apathetic husbands and indifferent dads, they have anointed men “Prophet, Priest and King”, “Point Man” and “High Priest of the Home.” The only problem is, that’s not scriptural. 

It reminds me of Uzzah.  2 Samuel 6 recounts the infamous fall of this well-intentioned Levite.  The Ark of the Covenant, representing the very presence of God, was finally headed back to Jerusalem.  And David was leading the way with shouting, singing and dancing as all of Israel celebrated.  But when the oxen which were carrying the Ark approached the flat threshing floor of Nachon, what should have been smooth sailing turned very ugly very fast.  The oxen stumbled, nearly upsetting the Ark, and – only wanting to help – Uzzah reached out to lend a hand.  But before you could say, “Don’t do it!” he lay dead on the ground.  What did Uzzah do that was so bad?   How could this man of good intentions – who was merely reacting naturally - have met with such punishment and wrath?   What exactly was the sin of Uzzah? 

To understand, we first have to acknowledge that God and His Word are irretrievably entwined.  In fact, John 1:1 states that the Word of God is, basically, an incarnation of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In other words, when you disobey the Word you are opposing God, regardless of your good intentions.  And this is what Uzzah did–while seeking to help God and steady His presence - he actually opposed God and disobeyed His commands by touching the Ark of the Covenant.1  And just like Uzzah, many of these well-intentioned pro-family Christian messages have ended up opposing God because their teachings about family order are unscriptural, forcing husbands to become 24-hour “Supermen” and completely benching the wives.

The heart of God has always been the “restoration of all things,”2 and Jesus has definitely restored Christian marriage to its former glorious state of equality and mutual submission.  And as Christians, it is vital that we understand this, accept it and operate accordingly.  The Bible tells us plainly that before the fall of mankind both husband and wife were made in the image of God and both were given dominion and rule. In fact, this first man and wife were so completely “one flesh”4 they even shared the same name!  “He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Adam in the day when they were created (emphasis added).”5

Without a doubt, the fact that you and I have never known anything but a fallen world--a sin-filled mankind--makes it difficult for us to grasp the depths to which our species has fallen.  What was perfect and incorrupt in the Garden became twisted and marred as fallen men and women struggled to walk out their days on this earth.  Even good men, righteous men, treated women like they weren’t much better than cattle.  Just look at “righteous”6 Lot.  When God sent two angels to visit Sodom before destroying it, Lot thought they were ordinary men and insisted they stay the night at his house.  The men of Sodom, filled with perverse lust, cried out for Lot to throw the two angels out to them.  And what did Lot do?   Demonstrate the self-sacrificing character of Christ and say, “Leave them alone.  Take me instead!”?   No, he says, “Here, take my daughters!”  Two girls that had kept their virginity in the midst of a depraved and wicked city were being offered to a bunch of sexual perverts by their father.  “Let me bring them out to you and do to them whatever you like,” Lot shouted.7 What?!  It was okay with Lot if this crowd raped and sodomized his daughters just so long as they didn’t touch his guests?!  There was definitely nothing righteous about this mind-set towards women--a fallen mindset which had taken deep root in the cursed ground of Earth.  But in the “fullness of time”8 God sent forth His Son, born under the Law to redeem us from the curse of the Law.  And the bitter result of the fall which is seen in Genesis 3:16 has been nailed to the cross; and today “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 9

Growing up in the Arkansas Delta, hunting, fishing, football and fighting were as natural to me as breathing.  And if Christianity were a natural fight--and whippin’ the devil as easy as chasing down some little fella with a pitchfork and pointy tail who likes dressing in red suits--well then, you could just stick me and my buddies on the frontline, and we’d take care of it all.  But this is not a natural fight.  Ours is a spiritual battle, a to-the-death struggle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”10 And in this battle the baddest warrior on the line often weighs no more 100 pounds, dresses in high heels and gets her hair done every Thursday!

The testosterone-driven Gospel of today is very appealing to the carnal, fleshly nature of mankind.  But it is an unscriptural Gospel in many ways, and one that would have benched legendary Christian soldiers such as Corrie Ten Boom and Mother Theresa simply because they were women.  Men, we may have been taught growing up, “you never hit girls,” but this is not a principle the devil abides by.  He launches as many vicious attacks against our daughters, our wives and our sisters as he does against us.  And if we’ve insisted they live out some fairy tale existence-- forever in the tower awaiting their knight in shining armor--they’re gonna get slaughtered.  These women of God have to arm themselves with the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and take up the sword of the Spirit as they wade into the battle beside us.

Yes, the family is under attack.  And yes, restoration is critical.  But the desire of pro-family advocates to turn back the clock 60 years to Father Knows Best and Ozzy and Harriet is not the answer.  We need to go back alright .  .  .  but we have to go back 6,000 years not 60!  Back to the Garden of Eden, back before the fall of mankind--it is here that we discover the perfect will of God for Christian marriage: equality, respect and mutual submission.


[1] Numbers 4:15
[2] Acts 3:21
[3] Genesis 1:26-28
[4] Matthew 19:6
[5] Genesis 5:2
[6] 2 Peter 2:8
[7] Genesis 19:8
[8] Galatians 4:4
[9] Galatians 3:28
[10] Ephesians 6:12

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